The Edmonton Oilers are a sad story when it comes to how they have played the last two seasons and prior to when they made the playoffs in the 2016-17 season.
After being one of the best teams in the league and coming to within one win of reaching the Western Conference Finals in the 2016-17 season, this team and franchise has returned to being dreadful.
Many people are probably going to say to me “What are you talking about? They are currently just three points out of a wildcard spot and still have a bunch of games to play.” While I am more than well aware of that, I believe that the Oilers just aren’t a good enough hockey team to truly accomplish anything this season and may not do much next season either. There are several reasons why I feel this way.
This team is still struggling to score goals. As of this writing, this team is 21st in the league in goals scored and is averaging close to three goals per game, which is not enough in today’s NHL.
Like they did last season, the team has been relying on both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to provide a lot of the team’s offense. For the most part, they have done their part as McDavid currently leads the team with 76 points (31 goals and 45 assists) while Draisaitl is second on the team with 63 points (29 goals and 34 assists).
These are two world class players that the Oilers have and they are wasting them. McDavid is just 22-years-old while Draisaitl is only 23-years-old.
When you have young and unbelievably talented players like this, a team should do everything they can to build around them and right now, the team has yet to do that. The duo has combined for 139 points this season and last season they combined for 178 points.
This is something that needs to change if they want to have success moving forward. After McDavid and Draisaitl, this offense is nothing to be proud of.
Only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has played well as he currently has 48 points (16 goals and 32 assists). At 25-years-old, he is also being wasted.
Not only is the team’s offense bad, but their defense isn’t much better. As of this writing, the club is 28th in the league in goals allowed as they are currently allowing 3.3 goals-against per game.
The main contributor to this number is the team’s poor goaltending. After having an outstanding season in 2016-17, Cam Talbot’s play has fallen off in a big way.
Talbot, 31, is currently 9-13-3 with a 3.34 goals-against average, a .893 save percentage, and one shutout. He gives up a lot of soft goals, he has trouble controlling his rebounds, and he looks like he is not playing with a lot of confidence.
The other goaltender for this hockey club, Mikko Koskinen, has been a bit better, but not by much. Koskinen, 30, is currently 14-11-2 with a 2.84 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage, and three shutouts.
What’s alarming about Koskinen is that the franchise gave him a three-year deal worth $4.5 million annually. This makes absolutely no sense to me as he does not have a lot of NHL experience, his numbers don’t exactly scream number one goaltender material, and at 30 years of age, how much better can he really get?
Another problem the team has is that their former general manager, Peter Chiarelli, made a lot of bad moves. It is these moves that has the Oilers in a difficult place heading into the future.
Whoever the new GM ends up being, he better figure out a way to right the ship sooner rather than later or else this team is going to be who they have been ever since making the Final in 2006, one awful hockey club.
Photo: NBC Sports